London’s Calling Review – Women’s

Charlie Blair finishes off a busy week of London’s Calling reviews with the Women’s division.

London rivals lead the pack at London’s Calling

As expected, London’s Calling did not disappoint, with considerable disruption to the initial seedings at both ends of the women’s tour. The first event of the season saw the two London teams dominate their home turf with Iceni being the only team in the top 10 to retain their original position at the summit of Women’s tour. On the other hand, their local rivals, SYC, celebrated the greatest ascension of all; jumping up the table five seeds above the 7th place they began the weekend with.

Iceni’s quest to the final left a path of destruction in their wake, conceding no more than 8 points in any one match during the whole weekend. Clearly they were determined to assure the women’s tour that their performance at last year’s London’s Calling was a marked anomaly. As their score lines suggested, Iceni were merciless from the off, with every intention to bury each game come the half. This strategy proved to be a success, albeit after an initial wobble during their first pool game against PUNT on the Saturday morning.

Camille Peetroons toeing the line. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.

PUNT impressively pulled Iceni apart. And it would seem that this confidence only continued to fortify over the course of the weekend, with them having made a fantastic four seed leap by the close on Sunday. With figureheads Magali Matsumiya and Niamh Delany consistently looking to exploit the breakside they achieved some ambitious and fast pace play that allowed them to trade to the half against the reigning champions. From which point, the depth of Iceni’s squad pushed the pedal to the floor to comfortably see out the game in the end.

From then Iceni, didn’t look back, convincingly seeing off the rest of their pool. This included a somewhat unexpected demolition of YAKA who only managed to take 2 points off the Londoners. The French seemed to have been particularly deflated having lost in sudden death to newcomers ROBOT in the morning. A defeat that ended up seeing ROBOT take the remaining semi final spot that the third seeds had been coveting.

Women’s movers. Courtesy of Wayne Retter.
Nice Bristols looked set to retain their position at top of the other pool, having convincingly thrashed Iceni Savage, Swift and Leeds, and conceding only 13 points from all three games. However, their final game of Saturday turned out to be the ‘one to watch’ of the weekend. SYC romped to victory, having taken the game to sudden death with an incredible comeback from 11-5 down. A gritty performance, with some game changing defence from key players like Romanie Hannah and new addition, GBu23 Women’s captain, Ruby Rennison. As a consequence, SYC avoided Iceni in the semis, leaving Nice Bristols to face the top seeds the following morning. Unfortunately, they faced possibly one of the best defensive team performances of the weekend. Iceni were hungry and ‘heads up’ for turnovers, and dominated the Bristol offence from the get go. However, having had such tight game to the eventual runners up, it would be no surprise to see Nice Bristols in the final at Tour 2…

It was a disappointing weekend for Iceni Savage, LLL, and Seven Sisters, all of whom who were usurped by PUNT, and fell out of the top six. The latter two seemed to have suffered from a considerable shake up in both their rosters, and will hope for some tighter games come Tour 2 now that they have ironed out some initial ‘teething problems’ at London’s Calling. In the case of Seven Sisters, if last year’s performance is anything to go by, a mediocre London Calling finish does not mean they should be written off in Nottingham. Savage were unfortunate to have lost out in the pool stages to two games which ended in sudden death and potentially could have otherwise had a very different weekend. Unsurprisingly, it appears the lack of subs took its toll after this disappointment in their subsequent games.

Newcomer Vanessa Lowe debuting for Iceni Savage. Photo Courtesy of Louise Smith.
Aside from Iceni’s unswerving domination at the top, within the top 8 there really is everything to play for. Will Tour 2 be more of the same, or will we see another big shake up as the season progresses and teams respond to the successes/failures of their debuts? Is there anyone who can knock Iceni off the top spot? It’s safe to say that no one came close on this occasion. Despite SYC successfully earning their place in the final, inconsistency still plagues them. It was not exclusively Bristol whom they only just edged a victory over during the pool stages having also had to take the game to sudden death to defeat Iceni Savage. Equally, they had some spectacular points in the final which really did champion the level of talent on their team, but there remains something about their play that is preventing them from making the step up from not simply challenging their opponents, but dominating them.

So with the speculation and anticipation of London’s Calling over, we now eagerly await the reply…

Bring it!!!

Indeed! With only a week away till T2 I certainly can’t wait! Like, share, contribute and comment. DP @ tSG. 

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